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Josephine Mead
There are tides [with]in the body.

‘Water surrounded me at this time, but was also barely present. I was in an arid landscape in the high-summer. Dry heat warming my bones and bearing down on the white-washed houses of Arraiolos, carrying years of memory in their stones. Despite the dryness, I was swept up in oceanic thought, perhaps because I had just spent several weeks allowing the sea to soothe me in Istanbul. In the mornings, near the castle overlooking the town, glistening beads of dew caught onto lace spider webs. I took photographs of the sun- rays kissing them. I spent the middle of each day sitting in the main square—alone— drinking coffee and listening to the sounds of the water from the strange fountain that had been erected in its centre. It covered the old dyeing vats that were a formative factor in the history of Arraiolos’ rug making trade. How odd that water can be used to cover such an important point of time. The pillory column at the other end of the square remains in vision—acts of pain are often more visually prevalent than acts of making within our collective historical thinking. Nevertheless, the water of the fountain soothed me and acted as my main point of company during those long days. I spent a few hours swimming in a pool with the woman who founded the residency program, Mercedes, and her two small children. Peacocks were roaming the surrounding grounds and I kept wondering what my future would hold as I watched them from the water. The act of aqueous floating left me weightless and the fear started to slowly seep out of me. Was I bound for gestational possibility? I was here and I was making and I was accomplishing it by myself. There were not many other moments of liquid to be found in the hot Portuguese countryside, but the bulk of my body consists of water. I was bringing oceans to the landscape. I am fluvial and I was settling and opening and fluctuating and sinking and floating simultaneously in the sun. We are held in water in our gestational origins. I am still carried gestationally by my mother—still buoyed within her waters. The gestated body never leaves the one that brings it to life. We are forever floating, anchored. The water of the feminine body is ‘a challenge to phallogocentrism.’ I was finding strength and solace within the tributaries of my mind. Women’s bodies are fluid in their gravitational pull. Our menstrual cycles have a draw between the ocean tides and the cycle of the moon. We are liquid and we are leaking. Even when weeping, we are in full bloom. We can be built upon the choral voices of a thousand souls before us. Lift me up to the pulpit and cast me over with brazen confidence. I am in modes of diaphanous singing, serenading the women that came before me. As Virginia Woolf reminds us, ‘there are tides [with]in the body.’

(This text will shortly be published in Issue 02 of Debutante Journal).